Digital Communication Theory: England Conquer in Rome


When England last won the 6 Nations in 2011, Instagram had only been around 1 year (Geoff 2011), and Snapchat wasn’t created till later that year (Colao, 2014). Digital media advancements mean that England Rugby, O2 Sports, and RBS6Nations are now very effective on Instagram, and there was also behind the scenes action and build up to the game on the England Rugby Snapchat account (England_Rugby).

A digital communication theory which was used effectively by marketers during the match is Chaffey and Ellis’ 6I’s (2012).

The fan experience during a sports event has improved vastly due to digital media. For example, using one of the 6I’s by Chaffey and Ellis (2012), interaction during a sports event is extremely common. Me and my mates often discuss games on WhatsApp when we’re not together, and I follow updates from official twitter accounts such as @EnglandRugby, or websites such as BBC Sport, and even Instagram accounts such as O2 Sports – who are England’s main sponsor.

This not only benefits sports fans, but sports organisations too, as they can use intelligence (another one of the 6I’s) from interacting with fans to find out useful information such as what content is being received well through likes or retweets, and what fans want to see so that they can tailor future posts to increase interaction.

Another aspect of the 6I’s which has improved the digital media following of sports events is Individualisation. This is how organisations use their content to really improve integration, as the intelligence gained from previous posts allows them to satisfy people’s wants. For example, during the England Italy match, Lovell Rugby used their twitter account to advertise their discounted Italian rugby range. As well as this, organisations such as Sky Sports offer fans the opportunity to receive live score updates which pop up on their phone as and when they happen, meaning fans don’t have to find the content, because the content finds them.

In addition, digital media is incredibly competitive, and so “Interactive content should be incorporated into sport websites, enabling fans to immerse themselves into the website, creating stronger fan identification with the team, resulting in potential revenue generation” according to Carlson, Rosenberger III and Muthaly (2003). A great example of this is the RBS 6 Nations website, where statistics such as these can be found;

England managed to convert their limited chances into scores, having only had 28% of the possession in the 2nd half they managed to rack up 5 tries – the potential is massive.

63% of the game was played in England’s half yet they didn’t concede a single try, and only gave away 3 penalties that were punished (4 in total).

All 7 scrums were won on their own put in, plus one against the head – a very good performance against a very good scrummaging Italian pack.

Accenture (2016) –

England comprehensively beat Italy by 31 points – yet fans were still left frustrated by the performance, with the majority claiming we’d struggle against the likes of France, Ireland, and Wales. Which begs the question, are English fans too expectant and demanding of their sports teams? For a lot of people, the answer to this is a straightforward yes, we have historically failed in many sports, but when you consider that we’re one of the biggest nations on the planet with huge sporting heritage, and almost unrivalled facilities – surely we should expect the world of our sports teams?

To summarise, perhaps a grudge match is what England needed to silence their critics, a comfortable win saw the return to form of outside centre Jonathan Joseph who grabbed a hat-trick, as well as a strong scrummaging display accompanied by encouraging performances from the bench with the likes of debutant Maro Itoje, and Danny Care who really turned the game in England’s favour.

Bring on Ireland at Twickenham! (Saturday 27th February 2016. KO-16:50)

Will Wood, Leeds Beckett University, Sport Marketing Student


Accenture (2016) Match centre. [Online] Available at: <; [Accessed: 22 February 2016].

Carlson, J., Rosenberger III, P.J. and Muthaly, S. (2003) Nothing but Net! A Study of the Information Content in Australian Professional Basketball Websites. [Online] Available at: <>  [Accessed: 18 February 2016].

Colao, J.J. (2014) The inside story of Snapchat: The world’s hottest App or A $3 Billion disappearing act? [Online] Available at: [Accessed: 23 February 2016].

Chaffey, D, & Ellis-Chadwick, F 2012, Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation And Practice, n.p: Harlow : Pearson, 2012., Leeds Beckett University Library Catalogue, EBSCOhost, viewed 18 February 2016.

England Rugby (2016) Italy v England highlights. [Online] Available at: <; [Accessed: 22 February 2016].

Geoff (2014) The complete history of Instagram. [Online] Available at: [Accessed: 23 February 2016].



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